There are numerous definitions of patriotism bandied about year after year in America. Most equate patriotism with a near total love of country. Others subscribe to an ideal of patriotism that calls for citizens to actively question/criticize/participate in decision making processes. The notion of unquestioned loyalty to one's country always seemed to me a bit dangerous, especially in a democratic society. Another kind of patriotism that I find equally unappealing is that promoted by George W. Bush. The former president linked patriotism with consumerism as a way to rally American shoppers to save the post 9/11 economy.
A new sort of patriotism is emerging that may be the result of the 2008 financial crisis and the election of Barack Obama as president. This patriotism is focused more on serving America by creating innovative products and services as a response to national decline.
Of course, innovation and creativity are defined more in relation to entrepreneurial start-ups and job creation. I feel that a stronger link must be made between creativity in-itself and patriotism in order to develop a robust grass roots response to the economic crisis. The place making and urban revitalization efforts that are occurring in many cities throughout the United States exemplify how creativity can improve the quality of life. Eventually these efforts must address issues of social justice. The creative acts of people should be fostered and nurtured by suburban/urban/rural coalitions in the service of all segments of American society. Creativity as patriotism! The challenge will be to use the day to day creativity of people for national service beyond developing new businesses.